Minister: No need to arm all police
Police Minister Michael Woodhouse has batted away a call to arm all police after a man fired on officers in a standoff in Waikato.
Police Association president Greg O'Connor reiterated his frequent call to arm all officers, telling the association's annual conference in Wellington yesterday: "I believe the time has come to arm every frontline officer - again, as evidenced by last night."
In Tuesday night's incident near Paeroa, police shot a 50-year-old man several times when they were fired at after being called to reports of a domestic incident at a house.
Outside the conference, Woodhouse said he expected to be in talks with the association about the matter, but he did not agree that all officers should bear arms.
"I'm certainly open to that conversation, but I'm yet to be convinced that there is a case for change at the moment.
"What's important to me is that police have the tools readily available to them to deal with situations as they arise and I think where they are at, at the moment, is the right place."
In his second official function in his new portfolio, Woodhouse told the association he would continue to develop the policy work of his predecessor, Anne Tolley, advancing multimillion-dollar packages addressing family violence and gangs.
He would also oversee the creation of a "secure" and not publicly accessible child sex offender registry developed on Tolley's watch.
Woodhouse said it was expected to launch in 2016 and comprise 2746 offenders' details within 10 years.
He also planned to enact a policy that would have high-risk gang members undergo 24-hour GPS monitoring as part of their prison release conditions.
He told the conference he planned to seek policy advice on firearms prohibition legislation to ban high-risk offenders from owning guns, and look at legislation allowing the freezing of assets belonging to people with previous trafficking or money-laundering convictions who obtained "unexplained wealth".
During his own opening address, O'Connor called the police budget "frozen" and asked that it be topped up.
He warned that fewer resources could lead to a lack of officers, service failures, and affect the reputation of police, and pointed to Hawke's Bay where job losses have been announced in recent days.
Woodhouse said police were performing well within their budget, and all government departments had to operate within their means. "In straitened times we've had to ask them to do more."
Recorded crime rates were near a 30-year low, and he reiterated a target to reduce crime by 20 per cent by 2017, from a 2011 baseline.